Julie Freedman Smith & Gail Bell

Julie Freedman Smith and Gail Bell provide tools for real life parenting through their company, Parenting Power™. Using over 40 years of combined experience, they work with parents across the country through telephone coaching and teleconferences to ease the stress and guilt of parents while providing practical solutions to everyday parenting challenges. Visit www.parentingpower.ca to ask your own parenting questions, and learn how to receive 20% off all services as a Parenting Power Member!
What Did You Really Want for Mothers’ Day?
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Breakfast? Cards? Those are nice…but it’s possible that what you really wanted was for the snack dishes to make it into the dishwasher by themselves, the coats and shoes to make it off of the mudroom floor, and the toys to make their way into the toy box.

If that’s what you want, it is not too late. Moms often find themselves wishing daily that something would change (less back-talk, more respect, for example). Now’s the time to use these tools and teach the change we want.

  1. Know what needs to change.  How will the new behaviour look? Is it an action or a new piece of language (please and thank you?) Is it age-appropriate for your kids? Do you need to start with baby steps or can you go right to the new behaviour?
  2. Create a plan with your kids and share your vision. Say: when I walk into the house, I want to see a clear floor with coats on hooks and shoes in their place. How can we make that happen? If you’ve got young kids that need help in figuring this out, work with them. Use their suggestions as kids tend to buy in more when they have made the suggestion.
  3. Devise the cues. How will this happen? Will there be a new sign on the back door? Will you cue them as you pull into the driveway? Work together to find a respectful script for everyone, along with consequences. (Maybe no-one leaves the back hall until things are in their place).
  4. You: Where do your shoes and coats need to go when you get inside? Them: Coats on the hook, shoes on the mat—got it mom!
  5. Plan the start and the check in. Confirm when they will get started and mark the calendar for a quick consult in a couple of days, just to see if anything needs to be re-jigged.

Change doesn’t have to be hard and it can make things a whole lot easier!

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I Think I’m Raising a Perfectionist...Now What
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You may not be quite sure of how it happened, but suddenly your child is unable (or unwilling) to practice piano, spelling words or even math questions because they might get them wrong. How you respond to these tantrums (or misbehaviours) teaches kids how to manage failure in the future.

Option 1 – The Excuse

‘Well, it’s obvious we’ve raised a perfectionist and they are so darn sensitive…it’s probably better if we don’t force them to do anything they don’t want to. They’ll get over it when they realize how important spelling is.’

Result: The child learns that if they protest about anything that is even a bit tricky (or just takes up valuable play time) they can get away with it. They will be protesting all over the place in no time.

Option 2 – Learning Opportunity

When kids feel overwhelmed by new tasks, we can certainly support their emotions, ‘Wow, you seem to have pretty big feelings about these spelling words. Let’s find a way to get the feelings out and then we need a plan.’

Power struggles mean that kids are fighting for control. We need to find a way to give them some control within the situation. When the heat of the moment has passed, set aside some time make a plan WITH your child about how things are going to be different moving forward.

‘We know that you need to write your spelling (or practice your scales) three times this week. Will you be doing it at 3:10 or 3:20? How many words will you do in a row? When it seems scary or tough, how will you find the courage to keep trying?’

Result: When the child feels they have some power in the situation, they doesn’t have to fight you. They knows that together, you can come up with a plan and that you are on their side.

For a downloadable mp3 tutorial on teaching your child courage click here.

Comments | Tagged under kids, advice, tantrums
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